Missing persons

Sgt. Sheri Tate, DRPSBy Sgt. Sheri Tate/DRPS

According to the Alzheimer Society, three out of five people with a form of dementia, such as Alzheimer disease, will become a missing person. The person may leave to go for a walk and then not remember how to get home. Sometimes the person will get lost while driving and will just keep driving until they are exhausted and have to stop for help.

The police respond to many missing person calls involving cognitively unwell seniors. We recognize the situation to be an emergency and there have been cases in the media where a senior froze to death after becoming a missing person. Even our summer heat can pose risks for seniors lost in the community.

However, you can be proactive and help the police to locate you. Did you know that the Durham Regional Police has a vulnerable person registry? Well, we do, and it is easy to self-register. To self-register, go to www.drps.ca, click online reporting and then vulnerable persons registry. Fill in the information and be sure to include past addresses or areas you lived, past hang outs you went to in your younger days, current hang outs, where you shop, where you bank (not your card and pin number), your motor vehicle license plate, and of course your next of kin information. We will only contact family and access your information if it is an emergency situation. This service is free!

You must have an email and be able to upload a current picture of yourself. If you are not computer savvy, you may approach the Alzheimer Society to help you. As well, your local Alzheimer Society has many resources and other educational material to help prevent missing person cases.

When the police know some details about you prior to you becoming a missing person, and when we have your current picture (a head shot is best), then we are able to coordinate our search efforts right away. When a senior becomes a missing person, every minute counts.
For those seniors who have no help or means to register themselves, call Sgt. Tate for her to make other arrangements to collect this valuable information and possibly save your life. 905-579-1520 ext. 5624.